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UN Introduces Cut Price Air Quality Monitoring

September 4, 2015
Environmental Protection

78261917JH022_EnvironmentThe United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has launched plans for a new air quality monitoring device it claims will be up to 100 times cheaper than existing solutions.

The devices, which the UNEP claim are capable of capturing all the vital parameters required to accurately measure air quality, will cost in the region of £1,000, making the establishment of country-wide monitoring networks economically viable in many areas.

The blueprints of the units are to be made publicly available to interested governments, allowing them to produce the monitors themselves. UNEP executive director Achim Steiner feels the development of low-cost monitoring equipment is vital to improve air quality across the globe: “Each year, air pollution causes seven million premature deaths around the world, with outdoor pollution responsible for more than half of that total. Tragically, these deaths are wholly preventable. We know from the WHO that 88% of deaths related to outdoor pollution occur in low- and middle-income countries. Yet it is these same developing countries that typically lack access to data on their air quality. UNEP’s device can spark a data boom to help countries reduce the negative effects of air pollution, potentially saving lives.”

In another initiative, citizens in 10 cities across Europe are using their smartphones to measure air quality. The project, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme, involves the use of a free app which takes 25 photos during each scan. The pictures are then examined for the presence of aerosols in the atmosphere as part of the ISpex EU project.

You can find more details on the ISpex EU project HERE